A U.S. Postal Service mailbox is wrapped in a special covering to look like R2-D2 from the "Star Wars" movies.
R2-D2 helps ‘Star Wars’ stamps hit the cosmos
You might have seen this droid from a galaxy far, far away, but you won't hear any blips or beeps coming from it.
"The first time I walked by, it caught me by surprise," said Raymond Yee about the R2-D2 mailbox in front of the downtown post office.
A blue U.S. Postal Service mailbox was replaced in March with another one resembling the astromech droid of the "Star Wars" universe.
The Postal Service deployed 400 similar mailboxes nationwide on March 16, disguised as C-3PO's sidekick with the hopes of generating interest in a set of commemorative "Star Wars" stamps for the saga's 30th anniversary. The 15 new 41-cent stamps will go on sale across the nation Friday.
Four R2-D2 mailboxes were installed in Honolulu, fronting Ala Moana's post office, the Waikiki Business Plaza, the Honolulu Advertiser building and the downtown post office.
"It does relate to the shape of the droid R2-D2. Its a great use of the silhouette," said Tory Laitila, executive officer of Pacific Outpost of the 501st Stormtrooper Legion, a "Star Wars" fan club.
The early introduction of the "Star Wars" campaign was meant to encourage people to vote for their favorite "Star Wars" stamp that will be sold separately later this summer, said Postal Services spokesman Duke Gonzales.
The 15 commemorative stamps include scenes from all six episodes. Voting for the public's favorite stamp will continue at www.uspsjedimaster.com until Wednesday, with the winner announced Friday.
Darth Vader and Yoda are currently battling for the lead, said John Singh, spokesman for Lucasfilm Ltd., producer of the "Star Wars" films.
Although the Web site address www.uspsjedimaster.com adorns the mailbox to explain its appearance, several people were confused by the droid's presence.
Some people asked whether the mailbox had been vandalized, said Honolulu postal worker Edwin Kobayashi.
Passer-by Raymond Yee thought the new look was a gimmick to get people to use the post office.
Other bystanders questioned whether the intentions of the post office came from the Dark Side.
"It's the U.S. Postal Service," said Ronda Smythe, who denounced ads on mailboxes as a garish attempt to make money.
But Kobayashi said he has seen Japanese tourists and children taking photos with the downtown droid. It generates excitement for the USPS and adds a personal touch, he added.
"I think they should leave it," he said.
Several members of the 501st will join R2-D2 on Friday at the downtown post office, dressed as Darth Vader and stormtroopers to help celebrate the release of the stamps.
Shortly after the stamps are released, R2-D2 will disappear, USPS spokesman Gonzales said. As for the cost to deploy 400 droids, R2-D2 and the post office were not talking.